A room in a room: new armchair designs give sitters extra privacy
By Peter Steinhauer, dpaMunichx--The wing-back chair is one of the classics of home furnishings. In bygone times, male members of the upper class liked to sit in a solid club chair, drink cognac and smoke cigars.
August 19, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
“For a long time, wing chairs were about sitting down and presenting yourself to others,” says designer Matthias Demacker. “You would sit in one as if you were royalty on a throne.”
But times have changed and it's no longer cool for men to puff on a cigar while lounging in a chair.
Designers have adapted to modern tastes by creating armchairs with higher sides and with more space to sit. These new chairs provide a refuge to hide in, and avoid the hustle and bustle going on around.
“The trend at the moment is moving towards having a niche where you can comfortably retreat,” says Demacker.
The trade jargon for this kind of armchair is Privacy Chair.
Demacker designed his Basket chair with exactly that in mind. Its sides and back are unusually high. It is available in both one and two-seater versions.
Originally designers created the plus-size chairs to provide more privacy in hotel lobbies or in offices. But today's new sofas and chairs are ideal for adding an extra touch of privacy to the home.
“People don't just want a place to get some quiet in the office. They want it at home as well,” says Meike Willutzky, who represents the Belgian furniture firm BuzziSpace in Germany.
Many modern apartments are so designed that home life is played out mainly in a large studio-like environment. This enforced openness can be a problem for some families: the TV is on constantly in the background while a child plays — loudly — with toy bricks.
A privacy chair helps build a room within a room by helping to block out background noise. Their materials also go some way to creating this effect. BuzziSpace's Me chair, for example, is upholstered with extra thick sound-absorbing foam.
Designer Benjamin Hubert's Pod encloses the sitter in a kind of protective bowl.
Mikko Laakkonen won a prestigious Red Dot Award for his two-seater Aura chair. The Peekaboo chair from Bla Station is even equipped with a dome under which the sitter's head can completely disappear.
A slightly more open variation on the design is the Layer lounge chair from Germany's Julia Laeufer and Marcus Keichel.
The chair has unusually high sides and Laeufer has described it as “a room for concentration”. However, the sides and rear are not higher than the sitter's head, which allows a certain amount of flexibility.
“You can decide for yourself if you want to show yourself or if you just want to sink into the chair.”